Sunday: The Yearly Cleansing

Read Leviticus 16:16, 30. What is purged on the Day of Atonement?

Image © Don Mammoser from

Image © Don Mammoser from

Throughout the year all kinds of sins and ritual impurities were transferred to the sanctuary. With the Day of Atonement comes the time for their removal. There are three main parts to the Day of Atonement:

1. The purification offering for the priest. The high priest slaughtered a bull for his sins, making sure that he (the priest) would be clean when entering the sanctuary and performing the ritual to cleanse it.

2. The purification offering of the goat “for the Lord” (Lev. 16:8, NKJV). During the year, the purification offerings “brought” all the sins of the Israelites into the sanctuary. The Day of Atonement was the time to remove these sins from the sanctuary; this process was done through the blood of the goat “for the Lord.”

3. The elimination ritual with the live goat for Azazel. God wanted to get the sins of His people away from the sanctuary and the camp. Therefore, another live goat was sent out into the desert.

Read Leviticus 16:15. What happened to this goat, and what did it symbolize?

Because there was neither confession of sin nor laying on of hands involved with the goat for the Lord, its blood was not a carrier of sin. Thus, it did not defile but, rather, it cleansed. The effect is clearly described in verses 16 and 20. The high priest made atonement with the blood of the Lord’s goat, cleansing the entire sanctuary. The same procedure also effected the purification of the people so that, when the sanctuary was cleansed from all the people’s sins, the people themselves were cleansed too. In this sense the Day of Atonement was unique, for only on this day were both the sanctuary and the people cleansed.

The Day of Atonement was the second stage of a two-phase atonement. In the first phase, during the year, the Israelites were forgiven. Their sins were not blotted out but were entrusted to God Himself, who promised to deal with them. The second phase did not have much to do with forgiveness; the people were already forgiven. In fact, the verb “forgive” does not occur at all in Leviticus 16 or in Leviticus 23:27-32. What this shows us is that the entire plan of salvation deals with more than just the forgiveness of our sins, a point that makes even more sense when understood in the wider context of The Great Controversy.



Sunday: The Yearly Cleansing — 9 Comments

  1. Now like David I can say:I never knew more about God's Justice,mercy,love and all His goodness until I went into the sanctuary.The apostle Paul could not pen it all as he pointed to the Heavenly sanctuary.

  2. It is so amazing to read what happened on that day, of atonement my humanity can't let my mind to understand this amazing fact that for our sins His Sanctuary was unclean, that the pure change to be impure, that His mercy was and is so overwhelming, is really difficult to understand this true, as E. G. White is right to say we will study the science of the cross trough t the eternity .
    My heart only can say: thank you Lord for your amazing love and the beauty of your salvation, fill my life with Your Holy Spirit in order to not hurt your wounds oh Jesus, I am a sinner please accept my confession and deliver me from my sins, nothing else I can do,only trust in His wonderful love and mercy!

  3. This yearly cleansing ritual showed just how methodical and precise God was and is and continue to be. It is amazing that we cannot come in contact with sin without being polluted. The work performed on this day of Atonement served as a cleansing for sanctuary, and it was symbolic of the price Jesus paid for us on Calvary of taking away our sin. He is our substitute but that does not cancel our part of acknowledgement and turning away from our sins. What a wonderful God we serve!

  4. somebody please explain to me the statement that "the entire plan of salvation deals with more than just the forgiveness of our sins".

    • Sekitto,

      When we look at the big picture of the great controversy, by the cleansing of the sanctuary more than just sin is purged, but the sanctuary of our mind is also cleansed from all of Satan's lies and wrong ideas about the character of God. We are healed from our rebellious attitudes about God once our misunderstandings about Him have been cleansed away.

    • The entire Plan Of Salvation deals more than just the forgiveness of our sins. It also the vindication of God's Holy character. When Lucifer sinned and God exhausted every chances and finally casted Lucifer and 1/3 of God's angels who sided with him out of heaven, the rest of God's Universe were in perplexity about the Just and perfect character of God.
      So for God's Love towards mankind and the rest of His unfallen Universe, God launched His Plan Of Salvation to permanently eradicate sin and to bring assurance to a perplexed unfallen universe which He love dearly. For the death of the Precious Son of God on the Cross brought our redemption and totaly eliminated all doubts in the minds of God's entire unfallen Universe.
      I am so blessed beyond my finite mind to have such an Omnipotent God who is merciful and abounding in grace. Thank you Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit for saving a sinner i am.

  5. It is such amazing to see the connection between the earthly symbolic sanctuary and the heavenly sanctuary ministry of the Christ. I wonder how could we easily comprehend God's love without such manifestation. God is real good!

  6. Ultimately the goat after having all the sins of the people placed on his head was released into the wilderness on the day of atonement. He was chased away, carrying all the sins away from the camp never to return. At the end of this earth's history the author of sin will carry the responsibility he played in its origin, and chased away from God's children one final time. At last sin will be eradicated never to rise up again. We will be heirs and children of God for eternity. We'll live in His home, and He will recreate a home for us. We'll live with Him all because God gave, He sacrificed His only Lamb for all. The Lamb of God took away everything that would've banned us from His presence. What a Father! What an older Brother we have!

  7. This lesson was very meaningful for me, and especially the thought that the live goat did not have hands laid upon it or sins confessed over it, and that its blood was pure, and therefore "cleansed" the sanctuary. But....where do we learn that they did not lay hands on it? I grant that the words "laying on of hands" is omitted in Lev. 16 for both the goat, and Aaron's offering of the bull and ram. But I've always understood that the laying on of hands was taken for granted because of the instructions in Lev.4 on the proper way to offer sin offerings. I've tried searching the web for Jewish customs or something from the Talmud that indicated that this "Lord's goat" was treated differently than the regular sin offerings. But I have not found anything there to support this. Neither have I found anything in the Spirit of Prophecy. But I would dearly love to believe this if I had more proof for it. Can you help me? Thanks!


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